This is freakin’ unbelievable.
For the past four years there has been no shortage of news and views on Iraq and the long-running war there. What’s been missing: a one-stop-shopping clearinghouse for nonpartisan information, including material coming out of Iraq itself from natives of that country, not from foreign correspondents.
Now that need is finally being addressed in the form of IraqSlogger, in Beta at www.iraqslogger.com, but due to be officially launched next week. Its director is the former CNN news division chief, Eason Jordan, who quit that post suddenly in 2005 after 23 years with the company. The name of his new venture, he says, was inspired by a Donald Rumsfeld reference to this war being a “long, hard slog.”
The concept, Jordan tells E&P, “grew out of the feeling that I think many people shared that there was no one place to go. Individual news organizations do terrific work but you can spend the better part of a day going from one site to another and one TV outlet to another,” searching for a full picture.
“Iraq is the story of our time,” he declares. His goal for the site is for it to become nothing less than “the world’s premier Iraq-focused information source” — and with no “political slant.”
His site includes everything from links to op eds and articles in mainstream U.S. papers to “viral videos” and jokes from Iraq. Jordan points to “nuggets” missed by the U.S. media, such as Iraqis getting “addicted” to the TV series “Lost,” or the latest kidnapping of contractors. Not merely a collection of links, it will focus on what he calls “original reporting from Iraq beyond the traditional.”
One of the site’s unique and most valuable services is a daily roundup of news from Iraqi newspapers that few in the U.S. media have ever bothered to translate. Jordan has Arabic speakers here and in Iraq providing this service, and so far this week, these columns have gotten “far more” traffic than anything else on the site. A staffer in Iraq also monitors blogs there.
That is Eason Jordan. Yeah, that Eason Jordan. The same Eason Jordan who reported from Iraq and hid the atrocities of Saddam Hussein from the world while everyone was debating whether or not Saddam was really guilty of all the horrible things for which he was accused. The same Eason Jordan who accused U.S. troops of targeting journalists. Just what we need — some good unbiased reporting from Iraq, Eason Jordan style. Please excuse the snarkiness in this post, but if this story doesn’t rate a bit of snark, I don’t know what does. Be sure to check out the part of the article that addresses the Davos comments. (All just a misunderstanding, kids. Move along. Nothing to see.)
Update: I still find this hard to believe. What next? Dan Rather and Mary Mapes open a document analysis service?
So the search for Jamil Hussein is on, and rightly so. IraqSlogger’s team in Baghdad is working to track him down. If we find him, we’ll get back to you with details. If we can’t find him, we’ll report that, too. If Michelle Malkin wants to join the search in Baghdad, IraqSlogger will pay for her trip, and I’d even be willing to accompany her. Stay tuned.
Update III: I apologize for being so late in updating, but have been away from the computer (gasp!) all day. There is lots of news to report, the most exciting being that Michelle accepted Jordan’s offer to accompany her to Iraq, and that she has arranged for Curt at Flopping Aces, who first broke the Jamil Hussein story, to go too.
Lots of other are blogging about this one including: